kitchen table math, the sequel: Katharine Beals in the Times

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Katharine Beals in the Times

Wonderful letter:
Excluding the higher functioning [autistic] children [from the autism diagnosis] means that schools will have to do more to make regular classrooms hospitable to them without the early intervention based accommodations mandated by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. 

In particular, teachers will have to stop requiring children to work in groups, share personal reflections and do organizationally demanding interdisciplinary projects — all of which are challenging for the sort of child who, rightly or wrongly, has sometimes received a diagnosis of mild autism/Asperger. 

The new American Reform Math is also problematic for this population, since it waters down the actual math and teaches it less systematically. 

Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 2012 

The writer is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the author of “Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World.”

1 comment:

Squillo said...


My son, who has PDD-NOS, is successfully mainstreamed thanks to accommodations and an in-class aide. Without these, he would be at sea, jeopardizing not only his own education, but disrupting that of the other students in his class. Placing him in a therapeutic setting would not likely save the school district any money, and it would deprive him of the social and modeling benefits of a mainstream classroom, which might make him less likely to be able to live a full, independent life later on.

And I wholeheartedly echo your concerns about Reform Math. Not only does the relative lack of systematic instruction harm children who need structure, its emphasis on open-ended verbal questions utterly derails children like mine, who have (even minor) verbal processing challenges. Ironically, many of these kids, who may have difficulty with other academic subjects, could excel in math, but instead, they end up feeling like "failures" when they can't do the mental contortions required by programs like Everyday Math.